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How To Perform An Effective Summer Cleaning Session

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. It’s the time of year when winter transitions into spring and we all feel the need to clear ourselves of the muck that winter tends to bring into our homes. Furthermore, we all enjoy the idea of cracking open those windows for fresh air – a practice we tend to ignore during the coldest months of the season. The idea of being “fresh” helps to inspire our spring cleaning routines.

Who says we can’t summer clean? With the advent of this wonderful new season, we’re all presented with the perfect opportunity to give our homes another freshening up. Spring cleaning and summer cleaning are similar in that they’re both actions that work to eliminate dirt and clutter. However, there are some differences. Let’s review a few important ways to ensure you’re performing an effective summer cleaning routine.

Deodorize your trash with baking soda.

During the summer, it may not be enough to simply take out the trash. This is especially true if you’re the type of person to house your filled garbage bags in the garage or in the backyard until it’s time for pick up. By using baking soda as a deodorizer, you will spare your family the horrid smells that the combination of extreme heat and garbage create!

“Sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of a trashcan will keep odours at bay–especially helpful if you have cans in a hot garage or porch,” informs Saudia Davis of HuffPost, “Using trash bags? Wad up old newspaper and put in the bottom of the bag–this will not only help absorb odour, but will keep the bag from leaking due to discarded liquid products.”

Don’t forget the outside stuff.

What happens to our patio furniture, swing sets, barbeques, porches and other outdoor elements of our home during the winter? They get buried in snow, battered with other precipitation and wind and essentially become havens for dirt and grime until the summertime arrives. Clean them before using them!

“Scrub the deck and driveway,” advises Debra Ronca on HowStuffWorks.com, “Clean the grill and make sure you have enough propane or charcoal for impromptu barbeques. Wipe down your patio furniture regularly to keep pollen at a minimum. Disinfect and hose out your garbage cans. If you have kids, hose down their outdoor play sets — inspecting and adjusting them for safety, too.”

Clean your blinds with an old pair of socks.

Davis offers this very interesting piece of summer cleaning advice. We admit, upon first glance, it inspired somewhat of a double take. However, it’s a great idea! All too often, we use dusters to remove the dust from our blinds. However, all this does is move the dust around. It’s important to completely eliminate dust by using a damp cloth. We suppose an old pair of socks works just as well! Davis highlights why this is an important summertime routine.

“With more hours of sunlight, you may be noticing the dust that has accumulated on your blinds,” she writes, “Grab a pair of old socks to help you clean your blinds. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a bowl, put a sock over one hand, dip it into the mixture and run it over the blinds. Use the other sock to wipe away the dampness.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping you enjoy a cleaner home this summer. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Simple Steps To Breathing Easier In Your Home This Summer

We’re just two days away from the official start of summer! It’s an exciting time, isn’t it? Warm and sunny days mean that people all over Canada will be venturing outside more often. And what happens when people venture outside more often? They track dirt into their homes more often!

So what to do about all of that tracked-in dirt this summer? It’s important to take steps to ensuring that your home is kept clean in order to improve its indoor air quality. The health benefits are many. So even if you plan on going outside to get more fresh air this summer, it will remain important to take some simple steps to breathe easier in your home as well.

Here are three:

1. Steam clean your floors.

Believe us – simple sweeping won’t cut it. For truly clean floors, you can’t just rely on brooms or Swiffer mops. Vacuuming will remove a lot of particles from your floor, however, you won’t necessarily eliminate the bacteria left behind. Steam cleaning ensures that the extreme heat used to mop the floor kills all that bacteria.

As Hamilton, Ontario’s Clean Air Solutions informs us, “mops pick up dust and pollutants that vacuuming and dusting might miss or leave behind. Make sure to use a non-toxic soap in your mop water. Steam cleaners are also available for hard floors. They are a great alternative to mopping, as they use hotter temperatures, which can also help kill bacteria and allergens without needing any soaps or cleaners.”

2. Set up houseplants throughout the home.

Sometimes, it’s a good thing to bring the outdoors inside. This is especially true when you’re talking about plants. Houseplants are known for their air purifying ways. To ensure that your home and all of its inhabitants get extra doses of oxygen throughout the summer, invest in some toxin-destroying plants such as English Ivy and aloe vera.

“The benefits of houseplants cannot be overstated,” insists Stewart Unsdorfer Northeast Ohio’s Central Heating & Air Conditioning, “Houseplants clean the air. Houseplants actually breathe. They take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. People and animals take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. By bringing plants into your home, you’re creating a symbiotic relationship, filtering the air, creating fresh oxygen, and beautifying your home.”

3. Don’t clean with harsh chemicals.

We get it. They smell nice. But those scents are indications that you’ve used chemical-laden cleaning products to freshen up your home. The problem, Clean Air Solutions reminds us, is that many cleaning products contain harsh solvents or emit toxic odours.

“Opt to make your own natural cleaners, or buy 100% natural cleaners,” they recommend, “Many modern scented candles and other air fresheners release toxins into the air and can be especially harmful to pets. Avoid using air fresheners, or opt for 100% natural fresheners like essential oils and soy or beeswax based candles.”

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team is committed to helping you enjoy top-of-the-line indoor air quality this summer! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is also known as the “silent killer”. That’s because it’s a gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. And since it is invisible, odourless and tasteless, CO is the cause of more than 50 deaths in Canada each year, according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, as reported by Rebecca Joseph of Global News.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. However, for the vast majority of us, when feeling such symptoms, we don’t assume that CO is the cause.

How is carbon monoxide produced?

“CO is produced anytime a fuel is burned,” explains Kidde Canada, “Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes.” Their website goes on to reveal that, according to Statistics Canada, 64 percent of Canadians use natural gas, oil, wood and wood pellets or propane as their home’s major heat source.

What that means is most of us are more susceptible to CO poisoning than we may assume. This is especially true if you have an idling vehicle in your home’s attached garage. Even with the garage door opened, carbon monoxide can become trapped in concentrated amounts.

What are some ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

As if this wasn’t already made clear, don’t leave your car running while it’s in your garage. The CO produced by the car can easily seep into your home. As well, don’t heat your home using ovens or stoves. What may seem like an absolutely ridiculous idea is a practice that some people have used during the winter in lieu of turning up the heat.

“Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in,” advises Kidde Canada, “Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually. Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.”

What is the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

In truth, there is only one way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home: a carbon monoxide detector. As mentioned, CO can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, so there’s no way to tell if it has become concentrated in your home. You certainly don’t want to guess as to whether or not your home has a potential problem. Simply put, getting a carbon monoxide detector should be at the top of your to-do list.

“A carbon monoxide detector is the best way to protect you and your family from this potentially deadly threat,” insists the Canada Safety Council, “Install CO alarms where they can be easily heard, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. When installing a CO alarm, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace batteries according to manufacturer’s instructions.”

Protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Eliminating Secondhand Smoke From Your Life

Smoking is nasty. We apologize if this offends anyone who still smokes cigarettes, but we feel it’s important to be honest. Especially when that honesty may have a role in protecting people’s health, it’s something we’re willing to share. Smoking isn’t just nasty because it smells bad, stains your teeth and ages a person well beyond his/her years – although that should all be enough to get a smoker to quit – it’s literally nasty because it’s a killer.

You certainly don’t have to be reminded of how harmful cigarette smoke is to your health.

By today’s standards, that’s old news. But here’s a quick refresher: cigarette smoking is a known cause of lung cancer (among other cancers) and kills nearly 40,000 Canadians a year. Not to rehash our potentially offensive approach to this topic, but smoking cigarettes – when you really think about it – is pretty crazy.

“Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Canada and kills more than 37,000 Canadians each year – six times more than vehicle collisions, suicides, murders and AIDS combined,” reports Medisys.ca, “Many people who smoke say they smoke to relieve stress, or smoke more when they are experiencing stress.”

What about the stress endured by the non-smoker?

By that, we mean to highlight the many negative implications of inhaling secondhand smoke. Yes, cigarettes are so lethal, you don’t even have to smoke them to suffer the consequences of their existence. Non-smokers who are around smokers during their partaking in their nasty habits are just as susceptible to a variety of cancers as the smokers themselves.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” informs Cancer.net, “Even brief moments around secondhand smoke can harm a person’s health. And the risk of health problems is greater with more exposure.” The website goes on to explain that research suggests “that secondhand smoke exposure may increase the risk of other cancers by at least 30%. These include cervical cancer, kidney cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, rectal cancer, and brain tumors.”

How can you eliminate secondhand smoke from your life?

Perhaps contrary to the opening paragraph of this week’s blog, it’s best to take the polite approach. After all, cigarette smokers are not bad people. They’re simply people with bad addictions. You’re well within your rights to inform them that you do not want cigarette smoke in your home or anywhere around your person. Just be nice about it!

Laura Nathan-Garner of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offers no less than nine polite ways to say “don’t smoke around me”. With the help of her friends and Facebook followers, she provides some great examples. The following is from Janet P.

“People don’t like being told what to do so I don’t tell them they cannot smoke around me. If they light up, I simply say ‘I don’t like to be around cigarette smoke. I’ll wait for you over here.’ Then I move myself away. They are less likely to take offense and usually will accommodate my decision by either not smoking or by moving away themselves.”

A smoke-free home will greatly improve its indoor air quality.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you with that! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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